Montgomery County Council Vice President George Leventhal on Tuesday is expected to introduce Bill 50-14 before the Council that would prohibit a retail pet store from selling any dog or cat unless the retail pet store obtained the animal from an animal care facility or from a nonprofit rescue organization.
The bill is co-sponsored by Councilmembers Roger Berliner, Cherri Branson, Marc Elrich, Nancy Navarro and Hans Riemer. A public hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 2.
Council Vice President George Leventhal comments in this MyMCMedia Extra.
On Oct. 16, the Public Safety Committee received a briefing on puppy and kitten mills from the Humane Society and the Division of Animal Services.
Puppy mills are defined by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) as a “large-scale commercial dog breeding operations where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs.” Commercial dog breeding is regulated both at the federal and state level, although these laws generally provide very minimal standards of care.
Maryland passed a law in 2012 that requires retail pet stores to display the name and address of the breeder or dealer who supplied the pet to the store.
Some states also have pet purchase protection laws that provide consumers with various remedies if they purchase a pet with health problems, including disease and congenital defects. Remedies range from reimbursement of sales price, reimbursement of veterinary costs (usually up to the price of the pet) and replacement of the pet. Maryland, however, does not have such protection laws.
“For many families, bringing a pet into their home is like adding a family member that will be with them for many years,” Leventhal said in a press release. “Bringing home a puppy or kitten that was obtained from a puppy mill increases the risk that the family pet will also bring endless health and behavioral problems. By taking action such as is proposed in this bill, we are trying to protect people who get their pets from Montgomery County pet stores and may not have considered where their pet came from.”